Home-schooled children 'at doubled risk of abuse'

Children taken out of school to be taught at home by their parents are twice as likely to be on the child protection register, an expert warned today.

Full story: The Times

Reducing delay in care proceedings: regional events

A new inter-agency approach to reducing unnecessary delay in care and supervision proceedings is being discussed at nine regional conferences in March.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Women try to stop babies being taken into care by fleeing to Spain

A pregnant British woman has fled to Spain with her parents to prevent her unborn baby being taken into care by social services, despite an offer by the child’s grandparents to foster her.

Full story: The Times

Cafcass waiting list figures challenged on Radio 4

The credibility of Cafcass's waiting list figures has been challenged by guardians body Nagalro after a BBC radio programme reported that cases were being removed from waiting lists and allocated in bulk to managers.

Full story: Community Care

Labour should strengthen family policy, says Caroline Flint

Former minister calls for lower VAT on weddings to counter Conservative pledge to recognise marriage in tax system.

Full story: Guardian

Frontline workers should engage with media, says Local Government Association

Employers should support social workers to engage with the media to increase public understanding of the profession, according to new guidance from the Local Government Association.

Full story: Community Care

Family Procedure Rule Committee news 2009

The Family Procedure Rule Committee has published details of its work between May and December 2009.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Barrister's wife demands half a million pounds 30-years after divorce

The ex-wife of a leading barrister is preparing to take her husband to court to demand £560,000 in maintenance – more than 25-years after they split.

Full story: Telegraph

Social workers criticised after Khyra Ishaq starved to death by her mother

A seven-year-old girl was starved to death by her mother despite a plentiful supply of food in the home and visits from social workers in the weeks before she died.

Full story: The Times

Co-operate to protect children, says head of Victoria ClimbiƩ inquiry

Child protection standards must be raised to protect children at risk, the head of the Victoria ClimbiƩ inquiry said yesterday.

Full story: The Times

Failing councils should outsource child protection, say Tories

Conservative plans would allow social workers to set up their own practices similar to GPs' surgeries.

Full story: Guardian

Wales: children on child protection register rises by 8%

An 8% rise in the number of children on child protection registers in Wales over the last year is making “severe demands” on social work resources according to ADSS Cymru.

Full story: Community Care

Birmingham children's servives declared 'unfit for purpose'

Birmingham’s children’s services has been condemned as “not fit for purpose” after the deaths of eight children under its care.

Full story: Telegraph

Further media access to family courts will be scrapped by Tories

The Government has been forced to make concessions to its plans to further expand media access in the family courts.

Full story: Family Law Newswatch

Tories in child protection vow

The Conservatives have pledged to sweep away bureaucracy to free up frontline social workers to concentrate on protecting vulnerable children.

Full story: Press Association

Wife attacker has sentenced doubled after intervention from Attorney General

A man who "branded" his wife's face with an iron has had his sentenced doubled after the Attorney General personally intervened.

Full story: Telegraph

Child maintenance IT system flawed, MPs say

The body that enforces child maintenance is processing more and more cases by hand because its computer systems are flawed, MPs have said.

Full story: BBC News

Child maintenance system struggling to cope

The new body responsible for enforcing the payment of child maintenance by absent parents is facing a "rapid" increase in cases which cannot be dealt with by its flawed IT system, according to a report released today.

Full story: Independent

Family lawyers welcome child maintenance improvements but says further improvement still needed

Commenting on release of the Work and Pensions Committees report into the Child Maintenance operational improvement plan, Resolution an association of 5,500 family lawyers, agreed that the new system is now delivering a better service to parents and children.

Full story: Resolution

Government struggling to increase media access to family courts

The House of Commons Committee on the Children, Schools and Families Bill has frustrated the Government's attempts to introduce new provisions that would lead to further expansion of media access in family courts.

Full story: Family Law Newswatch

Child maintenance body 'struggling'

The new body responsible for enforcing the payment of child maintenance by absent parents is facing a "rapid" increase in cases which cannot be dealt with by its flawed IT system, according to a report.

Full story: Press Association

Child welfare documents left in Middlesbrough street

Middlesbrough Council has apologised after confidential documents, including a letter for child protection workers, were found in a busy street.

Full story: BBC News

Let straight couples have civil partnerships

An amendment proposed by Lord Ali to the Equality Bill currently before the House of Lords means that same-sex couples could soon be allowed to conduct their civil partnership ceremony in religious buildings, “in effect ending any remaining distinction between civil partnerships and marriage”.

Full story: The Times

Cheryl and Ashley Cole split: Chelsea star 'will hang on to his millions'

Ashley Cole's alleged affairs have cost him his marriage to Cheryl Cole but will not cost him his fortune, according to divorce lawyers.

Full story: Telegraph

Hula-Hoop heiress forced to pay ex-husband's property losses in divorce deal

Elena Bowes Marano, the "hugely wealthy" heiress to the Hula-Hoop fortune, has been forced to pay her ex-husband £5 million to cover half the losses he suffered in the property slump, after taking their divorce battle to the Court of Appeal.

Full story: Telegraph

Family court reforms face opposition from judges and childrens’ groups

Reforms to open up the family courts to the media are at risk of being scuppered by mounting opposition from senior judges, lawyers, children’s groups and MPs, The Times has learnt.

Full story: The Times

'Baby Peter' council's child services 'improved'

Ofsted inspectors are expected to say later that children's services at Haringey council have improved since the death of baby Peter Connolly.

Full story: BBC News

Alarm over Cafcass's 'child court crisis'

A senior family judge has warned of an "alarming deterioration" in the protection of vulnerable children in care proceedings.

Full story: BBC News

Anglican bishops back end to ban on gay civil partnerships in church

Gay couples could soon be allowed to “marry” in church after a decision by Anglican bishops and other clergy to support a relaxation of the ban.

Full story: The Times

Dads behind bars: 'I wrote to apologise to my son'

At HMP Durham, prisoners can join a families workshop to see their children and teach them how to be better fathers.

Full story: The Times

We are still in love with marriage

Twenty and thirtysomethings, whose parents were the first generation to divorce in large numbers, still dream of tying the knot.

Full story: The Times

Cost of raising child breaks £200,000

Report shows inflation-busting increase in bill for child's first 21 years, with outer London the most expensive area.

Full story: Guardian

DIVORCE SOARS FOR OVER-50S AS WIVES SEEK ‘NEW THRILLS’

COUPLES whose children have flown the nest are splitting in record numbers to seek thrills and independence.

Full story: Daily Express

MPs 'out of touch over families'

Eight out of 10 adults feel politicians are out of touch with the reality of family life, a survey says.

Full story: BBC News

MEPs Stand In To Help Recover Child Support And Family Maintenance

MEPs agreed 11 February that the EU should ratify an international convention that could make the recovery of maintenance across borders easier.

Full story: Gov Monitor

Marriage more stable than cohabitation, research finds

Cohabitation is a less stable form of relationship today than it was 15 years ago and particularly for couples with children, says relationships charity The Jubilee Centre.

Full story: Christian Today

ContactPoint: £224m national children's database 'is not stable', officials admit

A controversial database containing the personal details of every child in England is “not stable” and its information not accurate, officials have admitted.

Full story: Telegraph

'Baby P' doctor faces GMC hearing

A doctor accused of failing to spot the signs that Baby P was being abused is due before the General Medical Council (GMC) charged with misconduct.

Full story: BBC News

'Invisible' children at risk from unofficial fostering

Hundreds of thousands of children may have been privately fostered in secret, according to new research by the British Association for Adoption & Fostering.

Full story: Independent

Second Baby P case 'buried' by Haringey Council

Haringey Council allowed a second "Baby Peter" case to occur more than a year after the first, then "buried" it, it can be revealed.

Full story: Telegraph

Cake, gifts, T-shirts: it’s a divorce party

Divorce is now so common and our attitudes to it so altered that a new industry has emerged to help us celebrate the break-ups

Full story: Sunday Times

IT'S THE END OF THE ROAD ROADSHOW

Up to 10,000 people were expected to descend on the UK's first Divorce Show this weekend.

Full story: Mirror

ICS panel says criticism of system is unfair

The integrated children's system (ICS) is being blamed unfairly for management problems, according to members of the ICS expert panel.

Full story: Community Care

Work-based course will train children's social workers

A scheme offering 200 graduates to re-train as children's social workers with an annual salary of £15,000 is now inviting applications.

Full story: Community Care

DCSF pleased by reaction to 'Help Give Them a Voice' and 'Be the Difference'

A recruitment campaign in which celebrities urged the nation to consider children's social work as a career has resulted in 50,000 people expressing interest.

Full story: Community Care

Graduates offered cash to retrain as social workers

Graduates in England will receive at least £15,000 to retrain as children's social workers under a new government-funded scheme.

Full story: BBC News

Abuse in teenage relationships tackled with new campaign

A powerful new advertising campaign to challenge the attitudes of teenagers to violence and abuse in relationships was launched today (15th February) by the Home Office.

Full story: Home Office

Councils and voluntary adoption agencies in row over fees

A row has broken out between local authorities and voluntary adoption agencies, with the latter claiming councils are not using them enough.

Full story: Community Care

Government should not stand in way of homosexuals marrying in church, say Tories

Governments should not stand in the way of religious organisations that wish to allow homosexuals to marry in church, the Conservatives have suggested.

Full story: Telegraph

Cafcass in ‘meltdown’, report claims

The organisation tasked with safeguarding the interests of vulnerable children is in ‘meltdown’, a report has suggested.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Publish confidential child crime reports in full, say social workers

Confidential inquiries into crimes against children such as the Edlington torture case should be published in full, according to the body representing thousands of social workers.

Full story: The Times

Tensions between Cafcass and Napo continue to mount

Despite having just signed a workload agreement, Cafcass and the family court union Napo clashed on Friday over claims that frontline staff are struggling with soaring caseloads and low morale.

Full story: Family Law Newswatch

Integrated children's system proves too rigid for assessments

The integrated children's system cannot cope with the push to use more familiy assessments in child protection cases, according to experts.

full story: Community Care

Adoption Matters North West reports downturn in adopters

A leading voluntary adoption agency has reported that the recession has led to fewer prospective adopters.

Full story: Community Care

David Norgrove appointed as Chair of Family Justice Review Panel

David Norgrove has been appointed as Chair of the government’s new review of the family justice system to examine how the current system can be reformed to better support children and parents.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Parliament can be used as wedding venue

The Houses of Parliament will be available as a wedding venue to members of the public for the first time.

Full story: BBC News

ICS not coping with family assessments

The integrated children's system cannot cope with the push to use more familiy assessments in child protection cases, according to experts.

Full story: Community Care

Teenage domestic violence tackled by advert campaign

An advertising campaign is being launched to raise awareness of domestic violence in teenage relationships.

Full story: BBC News

Legal loophole robs wife of share of husband's £1.2m pension

A wealthy industrialist who ran off with an Eastern European woman half his age has used a legal loophole to deny his estranged wife a large part of his fortune.

Full story: Telegraph

Number of family law disputes in January much greater than expected

The number of legal disputes over children almost doubled in January as Christmas and the recession combined to increase tensions between divorced parents, figures have revealed.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Care applications rose by 43% in 2009, says Cafcass

Full-year figures from Cafcass have confirmed that care applications rose by 43% in 2009, compared with 2008, while private law cases increased by 18%.

Full story: Community Care

Judge rules fair trial not possible on past child abuse claim

A potentially ground-breaking judgement has been made that should help social services departments defend themselves against past child abuse claims.

Full story: Community Care

Interim Cafcass duty system likely to be extended

Family lawyers and guardians have hit out at plans to extend temporary measures to manage soaring care applications to Cafcass.

Full story: Community Care

Second marriage falls from favour

Fewer second and third marriages are taking place, suggesting that weddings are becoming increasingly a preserve for couples celebrating for the first time.

Full story: Telegraph

Baby Peter case triggers massive rise in workload for care workers

Children involved in care and divorce proceedings are being failed by the Government agency responsible for protecting their interests in court, it is claimed today.

Full story: Independent

Judges under pressure

Increased family work has placed “great strains” on family judges, the lord chief justice, Lord Judge, has warned.

Full story: New Law Journal (subscription)

Couples wed later as marriage falls to record low

Couples are getting married five years later than a decade ago, according to official statistics that underline the falling popularity of marriage.

Full story: Telegraph

100-year-low as Britons fall out of love with marriage

Fewer people are tying the knot than at any time for more than a century, figures released today reveal.

Full story: Guardian

Marriage rates show urgent need to update law on married couples

New figures on marriage released today highlight the urgent need to give legal rights to couples who live together outside of marriage, family law group Resolution said today.

Full story: Resolution

Marriages fall to lowest rate since records began

The number of people getting married has fallen again to the lowest rate since records began in the mid-19th century.

Full story: The Times

Inaugural family law prize to be awarded by Resolution

A promising young lawyer from Warrington will receive national recognition for her outstanding performance in family law tomorrow as she collects the inaugural Resolution prize from the 5,500 strong lawyers’ association.

Full story: Resolution

‘New era’ for family mediation in London

The implementation of the revised President’s Private Law Programme in London this week could herald a ‘new era’ for mediation in the capital and reduce ‘unacceptable’ delays in the court system, according to a leading family lawyer.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Guidance to forthcoming Private Law Practice Direction released

The draft guidance, which has yet to be finally agreed by the Private Law Working Group, outlines new measures which will expedite court applications and the listing of the first hearing, sets out Cafcass safeguarding checks and provides details of a new conciliation process.

Full story: Family Law Newswatch

"Perfectly reasonable argument" for a review of Payne says Lord Justice Wall

In a hearing for permission to appeal a leave to remove order today, Lord Justice Wall added his qualified support for a review of Payne v Payne.

Full report: Family Law Newswatch

Scottish sector chief unconvinced of need for UK-wide college

Social workers in Scotland may not need a national college to support their profession as there are already enough bodies fulfilling this role.

Full story: Community Care

Ofsted finds mixed progress at Doncaster Council

Ofsted has noted a number of improvements to Doncaster’s troubled children’s services, but said delayed decisions about safeguarding children at risk of significant harm were of major concern.

Full story: Community Care

Barristers reject BASW claim of ignorance among free lawyers

Barristers have defended their ability to represent social workers at conduct hearings, following criticisms levelled by the British Association of Social Workers.

Full story: Community Care

Report finds Doncaster children 'still at risk' of harm

An Ofsted inspection into Doncaster Council's children's services has found there is still the potential for vulnerable children to be left at risk.

Full story: BBC News

Child maintenance agency moves to seize 340 non-payers' homes

More than 200 have bank accounts frozen under new powers, as number of children covered by commission passes 800,000.

Full story: Guardian

Lord Chief Justice expresses concern over continuing delays in the family courts

The Lord Chief Justice’s Review of the Administration of Justice in the Courts was published last week.

Full story: Family Law Week

Changes to legal aid eligibility process introduced for divorce and child contact disputes

The Ministry of Justice has announced changes which it says will tighten the rules for civil legal aid so that fraudsters are uncovered at an early stage, and funding is better targeted.

Full story: Family Law Week

Wedding trouble as UK Muslim marriages not recognised

A growing number of young Muslims in the UK are entering marriages that are not legally recognised, BBC Asian Network has found.

Full story: BBC News

Channel 4 and adoption agencies launch new adoption assessment training package

The British Association for Adoption and Fostering has announced an innovative approach to the adoption assessment process which has been developed in a partnership between four adoption agencies, Betty TV and Channel 4.

Full story: Family Law Week

Government admits SCR action plans should be made public

The government has softened its stance on the publication of serious case reviews (SCRs), agreeing that action plans should now be included in every executive summary.

Full story: Community Care

Doncaster Council criticised by judge over 'shocking cruelty of two young girls'

A judge has criticised Doncaster social services after hearing of a shocking catalogue of cruelty to two young girls over a four-year period.

Full story: Telegraph

Child killing rate 'drops by 40%' in England and Wales

The number of violent deaths among children in England and Wales has fallen by almost 40% since 1974, research has suggested.

Full story: BBC News

How children and young people feel about family breakdown

A report by Cafcass on how children and young people feel about going through divorce and separation has revealed almost half are worried their financial situation.

Full story: Family Law Newswatch

Children ‘mistrust media’, study by children’s commissioner reveals

Children in family proceedings ‘do not trust newspapers’ and will be deterred from disclosing details of their abuse if there are journalists present, research by children’s commissioner for England Sir Al Aynsley-Green has shown.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Surrey looks to younger parents fo fill foster carer gap

Surrey Council has launched a foster carer recruitment drive in schools to address a shortage of placements in the area.

Full story: Community Care

English law 'favours sexual partners over relatives'

English law favours "idle sexual partners over deserving relatives", Baroness Deech, one of Britain's most senior family lawyers, has said.

Full story: BBC News

Student dads who do not financially support their children could begin to pay child maintenance

Student dads who do not financially support their children could begin to pay child maintenance, the Government has signalled.

Full story: Daily Mirror

Calderdale Council review of children's services sees workers suspended

Calderdale Council, West Yorkshire, has suspended a number of staff from its children's services department following the publication of an independent review commissioned by the borough.

Full story: Community Care

People should be forced to look after grandparents to repay them for free childcare

Children should be forced to care for their elderly parents and grandparents, one of Britain's most senior family lawyers will say.

Full story: Telegraph

Councils turn away from private adoption agencies due to costs

More than 1,000 children remain in care every year because councils are not using voluntary adoption agencies (VAAs) to help place them for adoption, according to a Policy Exchange report.

Full story: Community Care

Courts to make own assessments of child asylum seekers' age

Councils could have to justify their assessments themselves in hundreds of cases where there is a dispute over the age of an unaccompanied asylum-seeking child, following a supreme court judgement.

Full story: Community Care

Ofsted unhappy with councils' ICS child protection systems

Problems with the Integrated Children's System (ICS) have cropped up as a common theme in many of the recent unannounced children's safeguarding inspections from Ofsted.

Full story: Community Care

Number of unallocated children-in-need cases falling but still 'unacceptable'

Essex Council has established an emergency team of 21 social workers to help clear a backlog of more than 1,000 unallocated cases of children in need.

Full story: Community Care

Ofsted: Leeds Council failing to sufficiently fund child protection

Leeds Council's safeguarding and looked-after children services have been rated as "inadequate" by Ofsted.

Full story: Community Care

Child abuse deaths still rising despite action after Baby P

Almost four children a week died or suffered a serious injury at home last year through neglect or abuse despite tougher child protection rules after the death of Baby P.

Full story: The Times